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Govt speaks on fuel situation

by Staff reporter
16 Sep 2018 at 12:28hrs | Views
Erratic fuel supplies being experienced throughout the country have now been addressed, the Zimbabwe Energy Regulatory Authority (Zera) told the Daily News on Sunday yesterday.

Zera chief executive officer Gloria Magombo said supplies to pump stations, which have been struggling to secure adequate fuel over the past month or so, would be back to normal soon.

"Some logistical challenges were experienced in some areas, resulting in erratic supply of fuel. Stakeholders in the energy sector are seized with the matter and the logistical challenges have been addressed," she said.

Magombo said Zera has deployed a team of inspectors to monitor the situation on the ground to ensure that any bottlenecks in the supply chain are attended to as a matter of urgency.

"Relevant stakeholders in the energy sector are being appraised of the situation on the ground and so far indications are that normal supplies have resumed across the country," said the Zera boss.

Several petroleum companies have not been getting adequate supplies of diesel and petrol to meet demand as the country battles huge foreign currency deficits.

A survey by the Daily News on Sunday this week showed that some service stations around the capital were  fuelling diesel only or just petrol.

In July this year, Zera revealed that there has been a sharp increase in fuel demand with petrol imports surging by 46 percent during the first five months of the year owing to increased economic activity amid calls for the country to invest in local production of fuels from the vast coal-bed methane resources.

A total of 242,5 million litres of the commodity were imported between January and May this year compared to 166,6 million litres imported during the same period last year, according to statistics from Zera.

Diesel imports, in terms of the statistics, surged by 13 percent during the first five months of the year.

Liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) demand has also surged during the period under review with 15 million kilogrammes of the commodity having been imported, reflecting a 17 percent increase compared to 13 million kilogrammes imported during the same period last year.

The increased demand for fuel has seen the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe (RBZ) doubling the weekly foreign currency allocation from US$10 million in May this year to US$20 million in order to ensure constant supply of fuel.

While the RBZ has been doing a good job in allocating foreign currency to importers, it is clearly overwhelmed because exporters are not producing enough to ensure that foreign currency receipts are readily available to all those who need to bring in imports.

To conserve the little foreign currency available, the central bank has been prioritising critical sectors such as fuel importers, drug suppliers and grain imports.

While the governor of the apex bank, John Mangudya could not be reached for comment at the time of going to print, he assured the nation in a recent interview with the State media that there will be no fuel crisis, as the central bank was allocating enough foreign currency to suppliers.

Fuel shortages bring back a gory memory of the 2007-2008 era, when people had to literally sleep in queues.

The price of fuel has a direct impact on the country's economy and business as it affects the general pricing of basic commodities.

Source - dailynews
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